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A number of factors led to Hitler's rise to power, some quite coincidental:
- The harsh treatment of Germany by the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. Germany was forced to assume the entire responsibility for the war, and also pay reparations which totaled eight times the value of the entire German economy. The purpose of this treatment was to keep Germany weak; and was insisted upon by the French. The end result, however, was deep resentment of the terms of the Treaty in Germany, which played into Hitler's hands. In his speeches, he frequently blamed the Treaty for Germany's economic woes.
- The Great Depression. Partly because of the Treaty of Versailles and also because of a worldwide economic collapse, the German economy suffered an inflation rate greater than 80%. The desperation of the times also played into Hitler's hands, as he could blame western powers for the Depression.
- The threat of communism taking over the German government. Communist agitators, such as Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebnecht were very active. They were determined to create a communist state in Germany and threatened the Weimar Republic itself. Many of Hitler's speeches decried the threat of communism. It is perhaps not coincidental that Karl Marx, Leon Trotsky, Luxemburg, and other leading Communists were Jewish.
- Hitler's gift for oratory. Although he was largely uneducated, Hitler was a charismatic speaker who captivated audiences with his eloquence. An unknown fact to many is that Hitler often practiced his speeches before a mirror, even though he delivered them as if they were spontaneous. His speeches had a strongly nationalist theme which played well to German audiences.
- A unique provision of the Wiemar Republic Constitution allowed the Chancellor to assume dictatorial powers in the event of a national emergency. This constitution, written by two imminent German political scientists, was based largely on the old Roman Republic constitution. A "national emergency" occurred when the German Reichstag was burned by an arsonist. Hitler blamed the fire (correctly it turns out) on Communist sympathizers. This emergency allowed him to assume dictatorial power.
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